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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

One of my very good friends co-workers is bringing me his 029 on Monday for me to have a look at it. He said it does not seem to be oiling at all, will burn a bar and chain within 15 minutes, and seems to be really down on power. Having not looked at the saw yet I do not know for sure what is wrong but my suspicions on the lack of power is a scorched piston and cylinder. I was reading on line that you can swap the piston and cylinder from an 039/MS390 onto the 029/MS290 because the bases were the same. However, I called a friend of mine that is VERY knowledgeable on Stihl's and he said it wouldn't work because the intake tracks are set up different. I am inclined to believe him because he has been doing it for the better part of 20 years but there are several articles on arborists sites saying it can be done, so I am a little confused here. Is this a feasible swap if the cylinder kit can be located cheaply enough, or will it be more trouble than it is worth? Also, on the oiler, can I swap an oiler from a 390 and drill the hole out in the body to get a better supply of oil (guy is running a 20" bar, really a little too much for a 029/MS290) or is the oiler the same as an 029 and there is no advantage to doing this. The saw is very sentimental to the owner, hid grandfather bought it new and used it for several years then gave it too him and he used it to build his house, so he will probably want it fixed even if it costs more than a new saw. I priced all the parts OEM through the Stihl dealer I work at and after taxes the cost of the parts is $306.95 for a 029 cylinder kit, oil pump, oil line, pickup, and transfer collar. I can buy all the parts aftermarket for about half price, (Good quality from Germany aftermarket, cylinder kit actually made by MAHLE not that cheap Chinese crap), but I figured if I had to do a total re-build anyways I would see if I couldn't get him as much power as possible, port the muffler etc...

Thanks,
Joe
 

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You could probably buy a new powerhead for less $ than that. If the saw starts easily, the piston and cylinder are OK. Fix the oiler before you start looking for a power problem. It it's not that, then look for a mixture problem (too lean or rich), or a clogged spark arrestor, which will be likely if the saw was running too rich.

As far as the oiler is concerned, don't throw parts at it, there is probably only one thing wrong. Start by checking the pickup in the oil tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks rcurtis, I appreciate the input. I ALWAYS start with cheap and simple first, and then move on to expensive. The less money I have to spend in parts the more I can charge for the repair and the happier my customers are. That being said, he will probably want this saw fixed even if the cost substantially exceeds the cost of a new saw, new MS290 with bar and chain is 349.95 plus tax (seven percent sales tax here in Walton County, Georgia, so $401.20 out the door with a 20" bar and chain and a new Woodsman case if you pay cash, another $15.00 to upgrade from the 16" to 20" bar and chain if you pay with a card).

Joe
 

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I recall a situation when I was a dealer where a customer ran the main bearings out of an MS250. I don't know how he did it, but he was able to break almost everything he owned. It was cheaper for Stihl to simply give him a new powerhead (less the bar and chain) than it was to pay me $80/hr. plus parts to fix his saw. I submitted a warranty claim for a new saw and had an extra bar and chain to sell as a bonus.
 
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